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Disney Magic with a touch of autism

December 21, 2013

I’ve put off writing this post because writing about 8 days at Disney is going to involve a LOT of writing and going into it you know its impossible to truly capture the experience we had. I also want to share some things that might help other spectrum families make choices about their own journey to the happiest place on earth.

We started our trip with a 6 hour drive down to Disney.  This involved a lot of ‘Is this Disney World?’ ‘But I want to go to Disney World.’  ‘Is THIS Disney World?’  That whole concept of traveling to another state and it taking awhile is still sinking in.  We did see Santa driving down the road and he waved and gave Rett a thumbs up. I think it was the ‘Its my 5th Birthday!’ I wrote on his window.

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We did buy the dining plan and since we had one day we weren’t planning on visiting the park we had an extra sit down meal to use.  I investigated a bit and found that the Cape May Cafe was one of the highest rated sit down restaurants.  It also seemed to have food on it that our family (Rett) would eat.  So we settled into our hotel and then set off to get to our dinner. We had to take a boat over which was fun.  Buffets seemed to work well for us.  Rett ate a huge plate of calamari and some shrimp. The clam chowder was amazing and I enjoyed a lot of the offerings they had. This ended up being my favorite meal of the entire trip and I really wish we had went back.  Almost all buffets have a ‘kid’ section with mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, broccoli and some other kiddy thing.  Cape May even had pizza which was a hit.  I ate my weight in oysters.

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On our way back to the hotel, on the dock walking to where you wait for the ferry.

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The next morning the kids woke up like this. We got ready and headed to Lilo and Stitch’s breakfast at the Polynesian!!pic7

This place was super fun but it is a little sensory overload.  They play music and the kids all get a maraca and go around a few times in a parade.  I had to go with mine since they find it impossible to follow a crowd.  That can be a good thing though.pic8

Its not a buffet but its all you can eat. They serve it at your table family style all in one big skillet. You also get Mickey waffles, fruit and yogurt. Also some yummy juice. pic9

As soon as Lilo came over (this is my first character shot) I realized I should have brought a point and shoot.  I don’t own a wide angle lens and my fancy dancy camera really failed me.  Next time we’re getting a nifty point and shoot for all these indoor character meals because the lighting is so low and its impossible to get far enough away to get a good shot.pic10

I love Thad raising his arm up like Stitch.pic11

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The pictures never go as I see them in my mind. It is often a harsh reminder of the differences we live with day to day. But my kids won’t see my picture perfect images in my head. They will only see what actually happened. Their first trip to Disney where they met the Mouse for the first time.

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We started off strong with our first trip to Magic Kingdom.  If you go to the Polynesian for breakfast, you can leave your car there (they say 3 hours but yah.. we’re law breakers) and just take the mono rail to the Magic Kingdom. SO much easier! Then just go back and pick up your car at night.pic14

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This is Magic Tales with Belle. All the kids have a part to play as they reenact the story of Beauty and the Beast. This was one of those moments where I know my kids may be asked to do things they aren’t going to do or at least not as expected.  They did pretty well though! Evie was so cute nobody paid attention to what she was supposed to do.pic17

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We stopped and got some hats embroidered.pic20

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I can’t tell you about this because its a present for Gigi for Christmas.

We did not opt to get the Disability Pass on this trip.  I didn’t think Rett would need it and I figured if after the first day he DID need it, we could go pick t up. We were part of the crew chosen to test the Magic Bands since we stayed at Pop Century and you can make your fast pass reservations on your phone and change them as needed.  I used a site called http://www.touringplans.com  to make all our plans for each day.  They tell you in what order to do attractions and how long the wait times are.  Then I just made fast pass reservations for the rides with the longest wait times. If we got there and the wait time was 15 minutes or under, we just stood in line and changed our fast pass to something else later on that the kids wanted to ride.  We never waited in line over 15 minutes the entire trip.   The only time we had a close-to upset was when the kids wanted to ride the Buzz Lightyear ride and we told them we were (I had changed our Fast Pass) but due to a glitch it didn’t go through. I simply modified it, we went and rode another ride and came back and got on.  It was made harder because I told him we WERE going to do it and then we couldn’t. But it was fine!

 

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The next morning was Rett’s fifth birthday which involved balloons, banners, presents and crazy hyperness.

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Rett spent most of this day begging to go back to the hotel because he wanted to play with his new toys.pic26

The dreaded Buzz Lightyear ride. Its addictive and probably my kids’ favorite ride.

 

 

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On your birthday you get suckers as big as your face.pic28

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We said goodnight to the castle and headed over to Chef Mickey’s for dinner.pic33

The food was less than stellar at Chef Mickey’s.  It has the same sort of kid buffet options, the adult options are not near as good.  You are definitely there for the character experience, not the food.pic34

When we got back, housekeeping had arranged our stuffies.

 

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The next day we got up and headed to the Animal Kingdom.pic36

Rett rode the Dinosaur Ride.. which was a bit too scary for him.pic37

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We saw the Lion King show. One of the best shows we saw. Evie talked about it for a long time.PIC39

My big boy. Turns five, grows up. How do they do that?

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This is a tree on the safari ride. We did that one 3 times. The first time there was 0 line. Then the line was so long they didn’t want to take the time to scan our magic bands so we changed it and got right back on again.

 

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We also saw the Finding Nemo Show which was amazing.  They use hand help puppets that blink and open their mouths. Its hard to explain but it is so neat! I know a lot of people say they don’t like the Animal Kingdom but it was actually my second favorite park!

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The next morning was Epcot and breakfast with the princesses at Askersash. Or however you spell that.PIC43

Thad was pretty overwhelmed by the princesses’ beauty for all the photos.PIC44

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Sleeping Judy. Evie was impressed she had a crown.PIC46

The kids really chatted Ariel up about watching out for the Sea Witch.  They characters play right along with everything and its really cute.PIC47

The tree at Epcot.

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We left Epcot early which was good because it was my least favorite park.  We got there SUPER early for breakfast and then nothing else opened until 11.  We left at 4 to go over to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom.PIC49

We had a blast! You get all the hot chocolate, apple juice, apples and cookies you want for free. There’s parades with fake snow. The lines for rides are relatively quick (although you can’t use fast pass during the party).

 

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The next day was Hollywood Studios which may be in the running as my least favorite park. It has a LOT of shows/tours. Which was fine except my kids want to ride rides. PIC52

The city buildings and skyline you see in the background is actually flat just painted on a piece of thin material.PIC53

Beauty and the Beast show was great!PIC54

Evie twirls while we wait for a seat at Hollywood and Vine.  This was a great lunch and the kids loved seeing the disney jr. characters but our wait was almost an hour and we had reservations.  The entire lunch took about 2 hours out of our day. Not that there was much else to do.

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Thad was so excited about Jake.PIC56

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I couldn’t even get them to look at me they were so overwhelmed with love for Jake.

 

 

The day after this we took off and went to Downtown Disney. I wasn’t feeling too great (blaming it on the seafood mac and cheese at Hollywood and Vine). We saw ‘Frozen’ and just sort of chilled at the hotel. We ate leftovers out of the fridge for dinner.

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The next day we were supposed to go back to Hollywood but we vetoed that and went back to Magic Kingdom! We had decided to leave instead of going to the park again in the morning so we were riding all our favorites for the last time.PIC59

Kids with the dumbo ride.

 

At some point, I got bored with taking pictures.  8 days at Disney is SUPER long!  We decided to go back to the park in the morning after all and did a few more rides with our quick passes and used the rest of our snack credits up.  We had a great time at Disney and the kids are asking everyday when we’re going back.  Just 18 months, kids!

 

 

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